It has been a strange last week of the baseball season for us. Last night, for the second time this week, we have had a bet on the under that seemed like a surefire winner, only to be spoiled by late-inning shenanigans in blowout games, forcing a push where we should have won. Variances in baseball is always going to be tough, but when you are so close to scooping only to see garbage time runs go up on the board and ruin your bet, it can be a bit frustrating.
Last night we just about nailed every part of the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are clearly a defeated team at this point, and I fully expected them to give no effort again last night as they were in line for the rare five-game sweep after getting pounded in the first four games of the series. Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for Washington, and he has been lights out all season long, and I didn’t expect them to be able to touch him.
And they didn’t. Strasburg coasted to six innings pitched, allowing just one run on only four hits and striking out ten. The game hit the eighth inning at a 6-1 score, coming in well under the nine runs game total. But for the first time in a month, the Phillies decided to show just a little bit of heart and rallied against this god-awful Nationals bullpen for two runs in the top of the eighth inning to push our bet.
For those of you that took my advice and jumped on the Nationals run line, you won your bet, but for those of you that took under the total, you ended up getting a refund. The win was a huge one for Washington as they are clinging to a one-game lead over the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers for home-field advantage in the wild card round. For today’s pick, we will head to Colorado as the Brewers look to close the gap on Washington as they play the Rockies.
The Milwaukee Brewers roll into Colorado this weekend with a lot on the line. Milwaukee has a playoff spot locked up, but the season could end in one of three different ways for the Brew Crew. They could catch the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central Division title, where they trail by just one game with three games to play. They could catch the Washington Nationals for the first wild card in the National League, where they also trail by just one game. Or, they could fail to catch either team and play on the road in Washington for the NL wild card.
To say this game means a lot to Milwaukee might be the understatement of the year. If everything breaks their way, they could be in the NLDS for a five-game series as division champs. If it doesn’t, they would have to travel to Washington on no rest and face the likes of either Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, or Patrick Corbin in a one-game playoff. The Brewers will be pulling out all the stops tonight in Colorado.
Starting tonight for the Brewers is Zach Davies (10-7 3.61 ERA), and for the Rockies it is Antonio Senzatela (10-11 6.90 ERA). The game total over-under is set at thirteen runs. The Brewers are -157 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
What the Brewers have done in the last several weeks is nothing short of remarkable. If they go on to win the World Series, I can already see the Disney movie that would sure to follow. Not long ago, this team was stuck in third place and left for dead. They started to rally the troops and peeled off eight wins in ten games, to get back in the hunt, and then took a devastating blow when reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich fouled a ball off of his kneecap and was shut down for the rest of the year.
The Brewers were done, right? Not so fast. Since losing by far their best player, the Brewers have won fourteen out of sixteen games. In September, they are 20-4. At the start of the month it was unthinkable that the Brewers could catch the streaking Cardinals for the division title, yet here they are with three games left and a chance to do just that. And they aren’t just beating teams, they are blowing them out. Of those twenty wins so far in September, they have won fifteen of them by multiple runs.
Zach Davies had a similar season as many of these Brewers have had this year. He came into the year with a lot of hype, started out great, and faded during the summer. But like the rest of his team, he has caught fire here in September. In his last five starts, he has pitched twenty-three innings and has allowed just five earned runs. The Brewers are 5-0 in his last five starts. He made one start against Colorado this season and tossed five and a third shutout innings and the Brewers won the game.
If you follow my picks closely, you might have caught on to a trend I have been following in the second half of the year., I bet against Antonio Senzatela a lot. The guy has been almost unbelievable bad, and if the Rockies weren’t well out of contention, he would never still be starting. Since the All-Star break, this guy has an ERA of 11.13 in eight starts.
The guy has gotten blasted for forty earned runs in just thirty-two innings. And if you go back a little further, his last two starts before the All-Star game, he gave up twelve earned runs in just nine innings. He has allowed at least four runs in nine out of his last ten starts. Senzatela is going to get lit up tonight against a Brewers team that has been tearing the cover off of the ball in September. The Brewers have scored at least seven runs, eight-times in the last three weeks.
This game isn’t going to be remotely competitive. No one has been able to slow this Brewers team down in weeks, and they are playing with a lot of swagger right now. And I can’t imagine the guy that finally figures them out is going to be Antonio Senzatela and his double-digit ERA. The Brewers have no room for error, and that means they are going to run up the score as much as they can.
I thin the Brewers batter Senzatela, and Davies will coast to five or six innings of respectable ball. The game is in Coors Field, so he will likely give up at least a couple of runs, but in the end, this will be a lopsided final score. Feels like something in the range of 10-4 Milwaukee. So, I will do something I have done less than five percent of the time this season and lay that run and a half on the run line and go for the jumbo payout. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers laying a run and a half tonight in game one from Colorado at -115!